Rev. Dr. Demetrios J. Constantelos

  • Died: January 10, 2017
  • Location: Linwood, New Jersey

Jeffries & Keates Funeral Home

228 Infield Avenue
Northfield, NJ 08225

Tel. (609) 646-3400

Tribute & Message From The Family

Rev. Dr. Demetrios J. Constantelos, 89, passed on peacefully, from time to eternity, in the presence of God on Tuesday, January 10, 2017.

Father Demetrios was born in Spilia, Messenia, Greece in 1927 to Ioannis and Christina Constantelos. He often reminisced about his childhood and especially, his beloved fields of Madourou. After the difficult years of Italian and German occupation and then civil war in Greece, he emigrated to the United States in 1947, on a scholarship to attend the Greek Orthodox seminary in Pomfret, CT.

Following ordination in 1955, he served as the pastor of Greek Orthodox communities in Perth Amboy, NJ, Washington, DC, Lexington, MA, Ipswich, MA, Towson, MD, among others. Father Constantelos was the founding priest of three new parishes, Saint Barbara, Toms River, NJ, Saint Anthony, Vineland, NJ, and Holy Trinity, Egg Harbor Township, NJ.

Dr. Constantelos earned a master's of divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a master's and doctorate in history from Rutgers University. He taught at Hellenic College in Brookline, MA from 1965-1971, and also served as the chair of the history department and dean. Afterwards, Prof. Constantelos became one of the founding faculty members of Stockton University, in Galloway Township, NJ, where he taught for twenty-six years and served as the Coordinator of Historical Studies. He was eventually appointed Charles Cooper Townsend, Sr. Distinguished Professor of History and Religious Studies. At Stockton, Professor Constantelos's efforts led to the establishment of the Interdisciplinary Center for Hellenic Studies, one of the foremost academic centers in the United States for the study of Hellenism. He is the author of Byzantine Philanthropy and Social Welfare (1968), Poverty, Society and Philanthropy in the Late Mediaeval Greek World (1992), Christian Hellenism (1998), Understanding the Greek Orthodox Church (4th ed., 2005), and more than twenty other single-authored and edited volumes, along with scores of articles and other contributions to historical and religious journals, edited volumes, and encyclopedias. His writings have been translated into many languages. Rev. Dr. Constantelos was the editor of The Greek Orthodox Theological Review, an associate editor of The Journal of Ecumenical Studies, and he served on the Revised Standard Version Bible Committee of the National Council of Churches. He was bestowed honorary membership in the Hellenic Historical Society and the National Society of Literary Persons and Authors, and was awarded the Gold Cross of Saint Paul by the Synod of the Church of Greece.

Scholarship and teaching were lifelong passions, and one of the sources of his success as a classroom teacher, conference speaker, parish priest, and conversationalist was the fact that he was a man with a constantly-inquiring mind and a readily apparent love of history, religion, and teaching.

Rev. Dr. Constantelos was devoted to his beloved wife of 56 years, Stella Croussouloudis of New York and Chios, Greece, who predeceased him in 2010. Also preceding him in death were siblings Vasili, Giorgos, Toula, Efstathia, and Maria. He is survived by his four children, Christine (Robert), John (Polly), Eleni, and Maria (Panayiotis) and six grandchildren, Damon, Alex, Michael, Peter, Julia and Demetri. He is also survived by four siblings, Stavros, Eleni, Amphitrite, and Panayiotis, nieces, nephews, and cousins. He had great love and pride for all his family. He is survived as well by a legacy of profound love, both given and received. He will be deeply missed by his family and all those who were privileged to know him.

Friends and relatives are invited to the viewing which will be held from 3:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 15 at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 7004 Ridge Ave., Egg Harbor Township. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, January 16, also at Holy Trinity. Burial will follow at Laurel Memorial Park, Tilton Road, Egg Harbor Township.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in his name to the Interdisciplinary Center for Hellenic Studies at Stockton University, or to Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church of Egg Harbor Township, NJ.


Condolence & Memory Journal

The Most Rev Dr. Demetrios J. Constantelos What a Big Theologian and Scholar for the Greek Orthodox Church and Hellenism !!

Posted by Stelios M Zervos - West Jordan, UT - Teacher   January 09, 2018

Demetrios saw something in an obnoxious. lost student and changed my life from the inside out. His patience, understanding and propensity to admonish properly when called for, directed my life towards ordination in the Orthodox Church. The lessons he taught me are reflected in my sermons, writings and how I teach others about the truth. May his memory be eternal.

Posted by Michael Rutan-Heningham - Ware, MA - student   April 19, 2017

Father Constantelos taught me how to pronounce Modern Greek. When I came to Rutgers in 1961 to study under the late Peter Charanis, he quickly informed me that my pronunciation was unacceptable, and that I'd better shape up quickly. Taking pity on a mere Classically-trained lad, Father Constantelos later made up a list of the main differences in the phonetics of Classical Greek on one hand, and Mediæval and Modern Greek on the other, and quietly slipped it to me at our Byzantine studies seminar. I am deeply saddened to learn of his passing.

Posted by Martin Arbagi - Kettering, OH - Classmate   February 03, 2017

Father Constantelos was a friend and fellow Ph.D. student in the Department of History at Rutgers University. I sat through many seminars wiith this fine man next to me as we work through our dissertations in the presence of our esteemed professor, the late Peter Charanis. Anthony R. Santoro, Ph.D.

Posted by Anthony Santoro - Yorktown, VA - Classmate   January 25, 2017

I knew Dimitrios when we were fellow doctoral candidates at Rutgers, under the late Peter Charanis - the Father was a good, kind man and a fine scholar; it was a privilege to have known him. Dean Miller (Emeritus, the University of Rochester)

Posted by Dean Miller - Chicago, IL - Classmate   January 19, 2017

You took an ignorant kid from a barrier island and admitted him to a world unknown and a history untold. The differences between us could absorb a whole word, yet you extended a hand of the teacher willingly and happily educating the ignorant. You gave more than I could ever return. You are my professor, and I will talk with you again. May God Bless and keep you.

With all my heart.

Jerry (Max) Slusher

Posted by Max Slusher - Margate, NJ - Friend   January 14, 2017

One of the great scholar-theologians of the Orthodox Church will be missed. We both were together in Constantinople to be invested "Protopresbyter" by the great Patriarch Athenagoras. Since then he left his mark on numerous students and clerics through his writings and example. .

Posted by Rev. Dr. Miltiades Efthimiou    January 13, 2017

My prayers to the family,he will be missed.

Posted by Angelica Sanchez - Egg Harbor Township, NJ - Acquaintance   January 13, 2017

Rev. Dr. Demetrios J Constantelos What a Great Scholar and Theologian Eternal Be His Memory
Stelios M ZERVOS MTS Holy Cross

Posted by Stelios M ZERVOS - St George's Greek Str. West , UT - Friend   January 13, 2017


My love and prayers are with the entire family as I remember our wonderful friendship through the last 70 years. Father Demetri and my late husband Father Constantine came from Greece together in 1946 and remained close friends all these years. May the Lord bless them! AIONIA TOUS I MNIMI !

Posted by Evelyn Mitsos - Boca Raton, FL - Family Friend   January 13, 2017

He is a professor that I will always remember from HC/HC and inspired me to go the extra mile to research a topic for an assignment. He contributed to the preservation of Hellenic Studies and am proud to continue this legacy by serving on the board of the AFGLC. Well done good and faithful servant and may his memory be eternal. +V. Rev Fr. James Rousakis.

Posted by James Rousakis - Clearwater, FL   January 13, 2017

It was a privilege to have known this wonderful and inspiring man. His contribution to our Faith, Church and Archdiocese will remain forever an important segment of our history. May our Lord grant him rest eternal!
Fr. George A. Alexson, Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox Church, Dulles, VA.

Posted by Alexson - Dulles, VA - Coworker   January 12, 2017

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